The increased exposure of media and the rising use of internet in the teenage as compared to the past have resulted in the rise of sexual activities as the material is also readily available in magazines, television programs, newspapers. This has deteriorated the norms and values of the culture and has resulted in rising trend of teenage pregnancies (Hamilton, p.3). In order to control the dramatic rise in teenage pregnancies especially the pre-marital pregnancies, it is imperative that the teenage should be given birth control methods as with passing time the sexual involvement is increasing at a younger age. Giving access to birth control to teenage does not really mean to encourage them to indulge in sexual activities with safe methods but to ensure that they do not become pregnant (Hamilton, p.3).
In the year 2008, more than 430,000 births occurred to teenage mothers that were in the age bracket between 15-18 years, which means a birth rate of 40 per 1000 females in this age group (MMWR, p.15). It is reported that more than two-third of these births to mothers who are younger than 18-year-old and more than half of births to mothers between 18-19 years of age is unintended. It is important to note that the rate of teenage pregnancy has declined significantly in the United States from 117 pregnancies to 40 per 1000 teenagers (Hamilton, p.3). A major study performed by the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) suggests that 86 percent of the decline in teenage pregnancies is witnessed since 2002 because the teens are able to use contraceptives in a better way as before (Santelli et al., p.151).
Giving Birth Control to Teenagers
It is important that the teens should be educated and given comprehensive knowledge about the use and benefits of birth control methods. Giving access to birth control to teenage does not really mean to encourage them to indulge in sexual activities with safe methods but to ensure that they do not become pregnant. If appropriate birth control methods are not used especially in teenagers, this could result in sexually transmitted diseases because teens tend to change partners frequently (Santelli et al., p.150). There are people who believe that teenagers are too young to be exposed to birth control methods, and sexual activity is for please and fun. They are unaware of the fact or probably ignore the fact that birth control methods are better to use as precautions than the spread of disease that has its life-long repercussions and has no cure but only treatment. It is important to note that the activities that are pleasure-seeking activities and are relatively easier to fulfill but the risks it possesses are atrocious.
The birth control methods are important for teenagers because if they get pregnant, the teenage pregnancy not only gives rise to emotional issues but also financial strains on the family of the teenage parents as the family supports both parent and the child. Mostly, the teenagers are studying in colleges, and the families have to bear the financial burden of their education along with a new baby and his expenses. Since the teenage parents are not highly educated and most of the girls have to leave high schools and colleges because they get pregnant and then later on have to take care of the child they are unable to support themselves and their child-bearing (Santelli et al., p.152).
It is also imperative to note that if effective birth control methods are not given to teenagers and they are not educated about the precautionary methods to be used, it not only develops financial strain on the family but also the economic burden on the country, for example, in the United States at all levels of the country – federal, local, and state level the economic burden of teenage childbearing to United States results in the form of taxes. The tax rate increased to US$ 9.5 billion in the 2010 (Hamilton, p.4).
If the teenagers are not provided with appropriate birth control methods and they get pregnant, they might not only go through above-stated issues but also have to face moral conflict with their own-self. Almost 95 percent of the teenage Americans undergo spiritual conflict with their inner-self especially if they get pregnant before marriage (Santelli et al., p.153). This can lead to guilt and emotional devastation because the stress of carrying a child at such a young age without any means to take care and what their own peer circle will think can lead to emotional distress. The proponents of the fact that teenagers should not be given birth control devices claim that sex is not immoral. It agrees that the sexual relationship is a gift and is important for the human body, but the way it is now used by teenagers is not what it is actually about (Santelli et al., p.154).
In order to control the dramatic rise in teenage pregnancies especially the pre-marital pregnancies, it is imperative that the teenage should be given birth control methods as with passing time the sexual involvement is increasing at a younger age. Giving access to birth control to teenage does not really mean to encourage them to indulge in sexual activities with safe methods but to ensure that they do not become pregnant.
Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Ventura SJ “ Births: preliminary data for 2009” National Vital Stat Rep (2010); 59(3), pp.3-4.
MMWR “Pre-pregnancy Contraceptive Use Among Teens with Unintended Pregnancies Resulting in Live Births — Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), 2004–2008, MMWR Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, (Jan 2012), Weekly / Vol. 61 / No. 2, p.15.
Santelli, John S. “ Explaining Recent Declines in Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States: The Contribution of Abstinence and Improved Contraceptive Use.” American Journal of Public Health, (2009) 97(1), pp.150 –154.